Why would you buy an $8,700 gardening kit?

As I was scanning the news this morning, I came across this headline: “New $8,700 Dior gardening kits sparks critique online: ‘How does a gardening kit cost more than my car?’”

The ad offers information that I suppose would be the company’s answer to the question: “The new set is made from swathes of grained beige or black bull calfskin leather and is designed by @mrkimjones himself as an ode to Christian Dior’s love of flowers and gardens.”

We learn that for this sum of money we receive “a foldable seat that features a nod to Dior’s iconic Saddle bag” along with “a hand rake and spade, both of which come with palladium hardware.” Here’s the good news: the set retails for $9,300, but you can get it for $600 less.

Before you get too excited, however, I need to share the rest of the story: the set is exclusive to a few countries in Europe such as the UK and Spain. You can only purchase the kit in-store, and you must complete an online form to book an appointment to do so.

The more I learn, the more I am siding with the online critique.

Here’s another story about a product that is far more accessible: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is changing its name after eighty-five years. This household staple is now called “Kraft Mac & Cheese,” which is “meant to reflect the way fans organically talk about the brand,” the company announced yesterday. Packaging with the new name will hit shelves in August.

New name or old, I’m sure we’ll be buying more of their product whenever the grandkids visit.

“The friend who cares”

So much of the world is inaccessible to so many of us. Few of us can live or travel the way the ultra-rich and ultra-powerful do. When someone gives us what we could never purchase or deserve, we encounter grace.

Of all the gifts we could receive, the grace that forgives our sin and brings us eternal life is obviously the most significant.

Henri Nouwen describes the compassion a true friend brings us. Reading his words, I thought of the compassion of Christ in the hard places of my life:

“When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief or bereavement . . . that is the friend who cares.”

When last was Jesus such a friend to you?

“Incline our hearts to keep your law”

When we experience such healing grace, our best response is gratitude that demonstrates our love through our service. Jesus noted, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Our Savior explained: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26–28).

The Scottish minister John Baillie was therefore correct to pray, “You have the right to call me to complete obedience to your will.” We respond to his call not to earn his love but out of gratitude for his grace.

I love this prayer in the Book of Common Prayer: “O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

And amen.